Self Esteem

Her Scars Are Beautiful

Heather van Mil4388 views


Ever since I found out that the baby growing inside me was a girl, I wondered and worried about raising her with all of the self confidence that I lacked growing up (and still do, truth be told). How do you teach someone skills that you don’t possess yourself?

When my daughter was diagnosed shortly after birth with multiple heart defects that required open heart surgery, I made it my mission to make her see that her scars were something to be proud of. Badges of honour that showed the world that she was strong – a fighter that could beat anything.

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Then my second daughter came along and it only intensified my concern and resolve. I try really hard to teach both of my girls that they are worthy of the love and respect of others and themselves, but felt that I lacked some resources that could really help. Then I heard about the Dove Self Esteem Project.

Have you heard of it? It’s had more than a decade of positive influence on young girls and their moms – 2 million girls in Canada, which is quite a feat. That’s why we decided as a family to participate in a daily affirmation challenge and see how we did.

I thought this project would be something fun to do with my daughter, but I was pretty confident that I had done a great job of helping her recognize her strengths. When I first started the daily confidence reminders with Adri, where she had to pick one thing to celebrate about herself each day for 2 weeks, it took a really long time for her to think of something to celebrate about herself.

Her first attempts were thinking about things about other people. Then she started listing off “negative positives” like “I’m celebrating that my tummy doesn’t hurt” or “I’m celebrating that I don’t have a migraine”.

Even though it’s great to be thankful for an absence of the pain she so often struggles with, it broke my heart that it was so hard for her to come up with one single positive attribute for herself. This really drove home how important the Dove campaign really is. Even for people who think their daughters are full of self-confidence. It’s for everyone!

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When Adri finally came up with the first thing she was celebrating she chose her eyes. I agreed, thinking ‘Yes, they’re beautiful. They’ve got a slightly exotic shape and are never the same colour twice.’ Her reasoning? “Because they let me see, and some people’s eyes can’t see”. Her second day was similar, when she chose to celebrate her legs, because many people can’t walk.

I particularly loved working through the Mindful Me workbook. Not only did it have great activities to do with my girls, but it also had little tidbits that really helped me reframe the way I think about certain things.

“In today’s society, it’s common for girls to talk negatively about themselves, particularly their appearance, as a way of expressing emotional upset. Sometimes when they’re feeling sad or lonely or lacking in energy, girls express this as feeling ‘fat’ or ‘ugly’. But neither fat nor ugly is a feeling, and speaking in this way focuses too much on looks instead of her emotions.”

My daughter is one of two million who have experienced the Dove Self-Esteem Project… Before our family went through the Dove Self-Esteem Project materials, there were other girls like Alexa, Alexis and Bryanna. Their stories gave me so much hope for my own girls, that they could be helped to see themselves in a positive light and be proud. 

12 years ago Alexa hated her glasses and being called a nerd. Today, she loves her glasses and being a journalism student

6 years ago Alexis’ friends told her she was too; ugly to look at. Today, performing jazz makes her feel so beautiful.

11 years ago, Bryanna was self-conscious of her height. Today, she’s proud of her height and her humanitarian efforts.

These girls aren’t alone in their lack of body confidence and self-esteem challenges. 60% of girls worldwide feel their body confidence is holding them back.

So what’s a mom to do?

You can help #InspireConfidence in young girls by downloading the amazing resources found at After all, self-esteem is a beautiful thing, which is why we need to help our kids keep building it. Thanks to Dove, you can give your daughter this printable decal as a daily reminder to stay confident. Put it somewhere she’ll see it every day. Every day for 2 weeks, help her write something to celebrate herself. Share her daily confidence reminders with #InspireConfidence and see how easy it is to help girls start feeling more confident. You can also join us at the #InspireConfidence Twitter party May 18 at 9 pm ET. 

Available at Real Canadian Superstore, Loblaws, Zehrs, Fortinos and Atlantic Superstore or for convenient pick up here.

 This post is part of the and the Dove 10 Years of Beautiful #InspireConfidence sponsored program. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. This post reflects my personal opinion about the information provided by the sponsors.

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